David Holland is a 21st century treasurer. How can you tell? To start with, he sounds and acts like one. Treasurer of Cisco Systems Inc. since 2000, Holland no longer dwells on process or operations when he discusses his treasury. Rather, he focuses on new relationships and collaborations. His mandate is to create an "ecosystem," one constructed around a "supply chain" of Cisco's treasury, key departments within the company, its bankers and other financial services providers, and vendors. "At Cisco, we measure outreach and collaboration," Holland says. "It's part of our job, and our bonuses reflect how well we do it."

It's not that Holland doesn't care about consolidating bank accounts or investing to get a bang out of his cash or how well his traders are hedging the euro. It's just that these are no longer goals in and of themselves. At Cisco, it's assumed that Holland will do all those things well. Holland's focus, as well as the company's, is what he does after he hones treasury into a well-oiled machine.

Already, the 21st century is dramatically recasting treasurers in a new role, one that requires skill with people even more than skill with numbers, one that requires them to orchestrate revenue as much as cash flow and one that requires them to run not just a lean, mean treasury department, but create a department with a real sense of its stake in the running of the whole company. It's no exaggeration to call today's up-and-coming treasurers a new breed.

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